There are very few movies on my "BEST" list because it's not much fun if it's not EXCLUSIVE. Mind you, some of the films below didn't necessarily receive glowing reviews, but most of them did. Good movies tend to receive a lot of word of mouth, so there are no surprises here. These are the best movies of the year! Feel free to agree or disagree with me in the comments. I enjoy a healthy debate.
Dark SkiesThe Fourth Kind' failed, by making the possibility of alien abduction truly horrifying. The film smartly taps into the current mood of the country by focusing on a struggling family. In addition to the otherworldly stuff, the characters are also dealing with unemployment, a mortgage, and two kids. Keri Russell carries the film with a solid performance. There are a few predictable spots, but for the most part the film is quite good. This estimation was not shared with most reviewers. It's rated a 38% on Rotten Tomatoes, but I loved it.
Synopsis: A young family is dealing with the horrifying reality of alien abduction. Time loss, trances, and mysterious happenings are just the tip of the iceberg.
Director: Scott Stewart
Writers: Scott Stewart
Starring: Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton
The World's End
|Kevin Tong, Mondo|
Synopsis: High school drinking buddies all 'growed' up return to their hometown for one final pub crawl. What they don't realize is that their town has been taken over by blue blooded alien robots.
Director: Edgar Wright
Writers: Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Rosamund Pike, and Martin Freeman
'The Conjuring' is also a great success story, proving once and for all that word of mouth can still make or break a film. Whereas several well-marketed blockbusters went down in flames earlier this year, 'The Conjuring' was a low budget hit. Made for just $20 million, it went on to gross $313 million.
Synopsis: The film focuses on Ed and Lorraine Warren (demon hunter extraordinaires) and one of their most famous cases, the Rhode Island family farm, which is second only to the Amityville haunting. I believe that Lorraine Warren was also a consultant on the film, which only adds to its authenticity. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga believably portray the Warrens. The Warrens were paranormal investigators way before it was cool. They are called in to help a family of seven with spooky happenings in their old farmhouse.
Director: James Wan
Writers: Chad Hayes and Carey Hayes
Starring: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor, and Ron Livingston
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Synopsis: The Hunger Games continue. This time President Snow has decided that the quarter quell will consist of former winners of the Hunger Games, which of course includes Katniss and Peeta. After surviving the first Hunger Games, Katniss has to figure out a way for her and Peeta to survive a second time. This time their up against former winners. Whatever happens will not happen easily.
Director: Francis Lawrence
Writers: Simon Beaufoy, Michael Arndt, and Suzanne Collins (Book)
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, and Jenna Malone
|Leave a Trail|
Synopsis: 'Europa Report' follows a team of astronauts in search of extra-terrestrial life. Unlike most films, the 'Europa Report' doesn't focus on mythical little green men, the Europa team is focused on the search of primitive life forms. Likewise, the astronauts in 'Europa Report' are not traveling the speed of light. It takes them years to reach Europa. The artificial gravity in their living quarters is created by centrifugal forces, as the spacecraft spins--not the push of a button. Along the way, they encounter a slew of problems and they lose people along the way. After all, space travel is dangerous and complicated. Excluding Sharlto Copley ('District 9'), the cast of the 'Europa Report' is not well-known, which makes for a great Indie movie. The music of scifi darling, Bear McCreary ('Battlestar Galactica'), gives the movie an extra nudge towards awesomeness.
Director: Sebastian Cordero
Writers: Philip Gelatt
Starring: Sharlto Copley, Michael Nyqvist, and Christian Camargo
|Kevin Tong, Mondo|
The effects are top notch, thanks in no small part to the effects created by James Cameron's 'Avatar.' Say what you want about 'Avatar' and I have ('Avatar' is essentially 'Fern Gully' meets 'Dances with Wolves'), but the effects in 'Avatar' were groundbreaking. 'Avatar' was the first film to use a motion capture stage six times larger than any stage previous. 'Avatar' used over 100 cameras to follow every angle and movement. The effects of 'Gravity' are a product of that innovation. Even astronauts have commented that the cinematography and visuals of 'Gravity' are not only spectacular, but spot on.
Synopsis: The effects of 'Gravity' may be a star unto themselves, but the heart of the film is Sandra Bullock. It takes a real movie star to carry this film and Bullock nails it. 'Gravity's' storyline is rather simple. At its core, 'Gravity' is a wilderness survival tale. The vacuum of space is the harshest wilderness possible.
Sandra Bullock is an inexperienced astronaut (Ryan Stone) sent to make repairs to the Hubble telescope. George Clooney is the wise-cracking veteran (Matt Kowalkski) on his last mission trying to make sure things go smoothly. Of course things go wrong or we wouldn't have a movie. The Russians explode one of their satellites causing a ripple effect. This is where the film loses its scientific integrity, as most of these satellites and the Hubble telescope are in completely different orbits, but just go with it. This is not a space documentary, this is a fictional tale. The film is beyond suspenseful. You find yourself breathlessly rooting for poor Ryan Stone the whole way through. Against all odds, will she survive or won't she? If you haven't seen it, I won't spoil it for you.
Director: Alfonso Cuaron
Writers: Alfonso Cuaron and Jonas Cuaron
Starring: Sandra Bullock and George Clooney